Pahoua Hoffman, Executive Director of the Citizens League, reminded everyone in the room that all meeting materials can be found on the Citizens League Minimum Wage Study Committee website. She encouraged all to share the website and engage with their networks to encourage stakeholders and the public to submit their input -- either through the online comment form, by email, or by leaving a message on the voicemail at 651-401-2474, where there are prompts in English, Spanish and Hmong to avoid language barriers. The Citizens League staff will transcribe the comments and share them with the committee on a weekly basis. There were no public comments last week.
The Committee heard a presentation on Updated Summary Statistics on the Minimum Wage from Thomas Durfee, a PhD student at the University of Minnesota in the Department of Applied Economics. Click here to see his presentation.
After the last meeting the Committee was given a “What is the goal of the minimum wage?” survey to complete. The Citizens League staff summarized the responses and questions and organized similar comments into groups. The Committee discussed and reviewed the survey responses and questions. The Survey Results can be found here.
This level-setting exercise was important to the work of the group going forward, as different goals can have different tactics and measures of achievement. Identifying and mitigating unintended consequences is also a frequent theme so far in the committees desired outcomes, so articulating goals helps to know what “collateral damage” is acceptable and what is counter-productive.
The Committee heard their second presentation from Stephanie Hogenson, Outreach Director at Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota (CDF-MN). CDF-MN has an Economic Stability Indicator tool that can be used to analyze the effect of a $15 wage on Economic Stability. Stephanie made a strong case for the positive impact of raising the minimum wage to $15, despite some compensatory negative impacts to benefits such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also known as food stamps), Section 8 subsidized housing, Women, Infant and Children Food and Nutrition Service (WIC), Medical Assistance, Free and Reduced Lunch programs, and Childcare Assistance, just to name a few.
In the state of Minnesota, 1/3 of children are on Medical Assistance and WIC benefits programs. Many families depend on state programs for financial support. Stephanie showed the Committee how the Economic Stability Indicator is used to determine someone’s eligibility on programs based on their hourly/salary wage. The Economic Stability Indicator and her presentation can be found here.
The next meeting will be held on Thursday, May 24, 2018, with a presentation from Minneapolis city staff to talk about their experience implementing a higher minimum wage. Pahoua encouraged the Committee to suggest members of their community who can bring different perspectives to speak at future meetings and she will schedule those as the committee process goes forward.
About this blog series: SPACC public affairs staff will be attending each of the study committee meetings and writing a recap blog after each meeting in order to keep our members informed of the process. (Since President/CEO B Kyle is the co-chair and an active member of the committee her perspective will be included just like the other participants, but the blog should not be considered to be her opinion personally or a direct reflection of just her role on the committee.) Since the Citizens League will be publishing exhaustive minutes of the meetings, our blog is not meant to be a complete record, but instead will provide an overview of the high points of the meetings and the content. When appropriate, we will also provide analysis of what committee recommendations could mean for our members. If you have a question about the committee please connect with Shannon.